GambleAware crushed billboard brings to life harms of gambling

The billboard created by Lucky Generals encourages conversations and aims to help break down stigmas.

Georgie Moreton

Deputy Editor, BITE Creativebrief


"It felt like gambling was crushing me until I talked to someone"

A first-of-its-kind crushed billboard has been unveiled at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium by GambleAware to help bring to life the realities and harms of gambling. 

As part of a new campaign supported by Paul Merson, the ex-Arsenal and England midfielder who has spoken openly about his recovery from gambling harms, Lucky Generals has created a “crushed billboard” and placed it outside the Emirates Stadium ahead of the final games of the season. The campaign aims to raise awareness of gambling harms amongst football fans.

The billboard was placed outside North London’s Emirates Stadium following GambleAware data that suggests that people in London are twice as likely to experience problems with gambling compared to the rest of Great Britain, but two-thirds of Londoners (66%) would be put off talking to someone with gambling issues about their gambling, because of concerns related to stigma. The installation brings to life this notion through its execution and headline which reads: "It felt like gambling was crushing me until I talked to someone"

The activation is part of a campaign launched by GambleAware to reduce the stigma associated with gambling harms. It was inspired by 50 hours of interviews with people who have shared their lived experiences. The ‘crushed’ action represents the feelings of overwhelm and suffocation that many people who have experienced gambling harms report. The issue can have an immense impact on individuals, especially those that are scared to open up due to stigma and feel they have to face the impacts alone.

GambleAware is seeking to break down this stigma and encourage people affected to seek help. Former England and Arsenal midfielder, Paul Merson, has spoken out about his struggles with gambling harms in the past and is a supporter of the campaign alongside the Football Supporters Association (FSA) and the Arsenal Supporters Trust.

“My gambling addiction left me feeling like I was a bad person, when really I just needed help. The stigma around this very real public health issue means that so many vulnerable people feel they can’t talk to their loved ones or seeking support, and something has to change. Gambling harms can affect anyone, nobody is immune, and GambleAware’s new billboard outside Arsenal’s home ground will serve as a powerful reminder that help is always available if you’re struggling with your gambling.” says Merson.

To further engage football fans, beer mats highlighting the other ways in which gambling harms can affect how an individual feels, have also been placed in the pubs surrounding the stadium. The mats aim to engage fans attending the game in an environment where gambling is typically discussed. The campaign hopes to spark conversations about gambling harms.

The work is part of the 'Let's open up about gambling' brand platform developed by Lucky Generals and launched by GambleAware earlier this year. The platform encourages a more open conversation about the way gambling can make people feel in the hope that more people will use GambleAware's advice, tools and support by drawing the lived experience of those who have faced gambling harms. 

Through strategic media placement which opens up audience engagement, the campaign builds upon the lived experiences of people to encourage open conversation. The involvement of Paul Merson helps fans to actualise the issue and his brave vulnerability breaks down stigmas giving others the confidence to share.


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